First lady Michelle Obama has expanded the Joining Forces initiative to include faith-based and community organizations. Obama and Jill Biden launched Joining Forces in April to mobilize the federal government to support military families, but they also hope to engage various sectors of society in the program, which focuses on education, employment and wellness.
Obama reached out to faith-based and community groups in a conference call Wednesday afternoon during which she counseled that they need not be experts on military family issues to get in involved. They can instead build on programs they may already have to include those families and veterans.
“You are all trusted leaders in your communities and you can make a real difference to our military families and the communities and the country they protect and serve,” Obama said.
She asked faith-based leaders to consider creating a new ministry or service for military families and veterans or partner with an existing program in their communities. Obama suggested that smaller congregations and groups could coordinate a once-a-year fair or service activity, which she said could make a real impact. She asked them to raise awareness in their communities about the challenges that military families and veterans face, many of which their neighbors may be unaware.
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